Is the University of Michigan a Good School?

The University of Michigan (UM, UMich, or U of M) is one of the most selective public institutions in the US. Despite this, many still add it to their college list, which is why you might be wondering if it’s really that good.

Because it’s such a good school, the University of Michigan is a Public Ivy. It accepts less than a quarter of applicants, which means that only those with competitive academic profiles attend it. UM is an ideal school for students who like to party and partake in fraternities, sororities and sports.

Did you know that Darth Vader was once a student at UM? Well, at least the one who lent his voice to the iconic Star Wars character, James Earl Jones. Initially, he enrolled as a pre-med student. However, he changed his mind, which is why he graduated with a major in Drama in 1953.

By the way, in this article, when talking about the University of Michigan, we’re referring to its flagship campus, UM Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan System has two other campuses: UM Dearborn and UM Flint. Each of the three campuses is aligned with each other but has its own missions, decisions and priorities.

University of Michigan

Here are a few UMich quick stats to kick-start our discussion:

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Founding date: 1817
  • Motto: Artes, Scientia, Veritas (Arts, Knowledge, Truth)
  • Campus size: 3,207 acres
  • Campus type: City
  • School type: Liberal public research university
  • Reputation: Party school
  • Selectivity level: Most selective
  • Number of majors: More than 80
  • Popular majors: Engineering, Information Technology, Psychology, Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Student body: 47,907 (as per Common Data Set 2020 to 2021)
  • Students per class: 10 to 19 in most classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Retention rate: 96%
  • Graduation rate: 90%
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I
  • Color: Maize and blue
  • Mascot: The wolverine
  • Number of varsity teams: 29
  • Sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, softball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, wrestling

What is the Ranking of the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan is #3 in Top Public Schools, #9 in Most Innovative Schools and #23 in National Universities by US News. Meanwhile, it’s #2 in Top Public Schools in America and #4 in Best Big Colleges in America by Niche. UM is #23 in the QS World University Rankings by

No college ranker on the face of the planet should tell you which school is the best fit for you.

However, it’s perfectly fine to count on the most reliable and trusted ones when you are torn between two or more similar institutions, thus helping you to keep your college list short and sweet.

Considering shortlisting the University of Michigan? You will be more than happy to learn that the public school located in the Great Lake State tends to rank highly in various college ranking sites — national and statewide categories alike. Needless to say, it’s one of the best schools not only in Michigan but also all over the US.

The following are some of the national rankings of UMich by various college rankers:

  • #1 in Best Public Colleges in the US (College Simply)
  • #5 in Public Colleges (Forbes)
  • #8 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #19 in Research Universities (Forbes)
  • #20 in Best Value Colleges in the US (College Simply)
  • #25 in Best Colleges in America (Niche)
  • #32 in Best Value Schools (US News)
  • #34 in Colleges With the Best Academics in America (Niche)

And now, here are a few local rankings of UM by different college ranking sites:

  • #1 in Best Colleges in Michigan (Niche)
  • #1 in Best Value Colleges in Michigan (Niche)
  • #1 in Best Colleges in Michigan (College Simply)
  • #1 in Best Public Colleges in Michigan (College Simply)
  • #1 in Top 10 Best Colleges in Michigan (Best Colleges)
  • #2 in the Midwest (Forbes)

I attended UM School of Nursing – coursework was rigorous, clinicals were critical to nursing skills development. Classes are cutthroat and there are weed out classes. Our school lacked diversity and was very homogenous. Professors in general were very knowledgeable but some would have better been suited as researchers only. Overall prepared me well for my career.

What is the University of Michigan Known For?

The University of Michigan is known for its massive campus size and diverse student body. Due to its top academics, it’s one of the many schools dubbed as Public Ivies. Newsweek considers it a Hidden Ivy, too. UMich is also known for being an institution with great value, Greek life and athletics.

It may not be one of the eight Ivy League schools, but U of M is comparable to them.

Nearly 300 academic programs and more than 100 majors are available at the University of Michigan. And speaking of which, some of the most highly ranked programs the school offers are:

  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Information Technology
  • Kinesiology
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Therapy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

UM is also known for being an NCAA record-holder for the most NCAA championships won — 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1996 and 1998.

University of Michigan Fans

Is the University of Michigan a Party School?

The University of Michigan is a well-known party school in Michigan and the country. As a matter of fact, in 2015, the public institution was named a top 10 party school by Playboy. As of this writing, UMich is #2 in Top Party Schools in Michigan and #31 in Top Party Schools in America by Niche.

Parties at the University of Michigan happen not only on campus but also off campus.

That’s because just a few blocks away from U of M is Ann Arbor’s Main Street, which is packed with clubs, bars and grills. Also in existence are a few venues for live music and other festive events. So, in other words, there is practically never a shortage of fun and exciting things to do for UMich students.

Contributing to its party school reputation is that the school also has an amazing Greek life. Proof of this is the fact that the University of Michigan is #18 in Top Schools for Fraternities and Sororities in 2021 by College Pads.

Meanwhile, it’s #2 in Best Greek Life Colleges in Michigan and #46 in Best Greek Life Colleges in America by Niche.

University of Michigan Campus

The University of Michigan’s campus is 3,207 acres and has a city setting. It looks gorgeous, especially in the summertime, which is why it is considered one of the best campuses in the US. UM’s campus is home to a diverse student body amounting to 47,907, as of the academic year 2020 to 2021.

As mentioned earlier, UM Ann Arbor is the largest campus of the University of Michigan System. Let’s compare the sizes and population of the system’s three campuses in order to have a better picture:

UM Ann Arbor3,207 acres47,907
UM Dearborn202 acres8,783
UM Flint76 acres6,829

UMich is located in Ann Arbor, which is #12 in Best Places to Live by US News.

It isn’t surprising as the city west of Detroit is, strangely yet beautifully, rural and urban at the same time. There are plenty of places to visit, especially on Main Street, ranging from taverns to gift shops.

Some of the closest major cities to the University of Michigan include:

  • Detroit
  • Windsor
  • Toledo
  • Fort Wayne
  • Cleveland
  • London
  • Akron
  • Columbus
  • Kitchener
  • Chicago
  • Hamilton
  • Indianapolis
  • Milwaukee
  • Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh

Worried about your safety and security, especially if you are miles away from home as an out-of-state student?

Don’t fret too much about packing your bags and moving to Ann Arbor to earn a U of M degree. According to FBI crime data, the city is one of the safest communities in the US. It’s for this reason why Niche ranks the University of Michigan #28 in Safest College Campuses in Michigan.

What Schools are Similar to the University of Michigan?

Many graduating high school students whose top-choice school is the University of Michigan tend to fill their college lists with schools similar to it. Some common examples are Ohio State University, Northwestern University, the University of California – Berkeley and the University of Texas – Austin.

UM is not the only well-known and highly ranked public institution in the US.

That is why running out of similar schools to apply to should be the least of your worries when the college application season is nearing — many are just as good as UMich.

See which of these schools similar to U of M would make for excellent additions to your college list:

  • Michigan State University. Established in 1855, Michigan State University has since served as a model for land-grant institutions created under the Morrill Act of 1862.
  • Northwestern University. A private research university, Northwestern University is the oldest chartered academic institution in the state of Illinois.
  • University of California – Berkeley. Besides being the first campus of the University of California System, UC Berkeley is also California’s very first land-grant university.
  • University of Virginia. Other than being the flagship school of the state of Virginia, the University of Virginia is also home to the Academical Village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Acceptance Rate at the University of Michigan

About three in four applicants to the University of Michigan end up with a rejection letter. That’s because the public school has a low acceptance rate of 23%, which makes it a most selective institution. UM has the lowest acceptance rate among all colleges and universities located in Michigan.

Many college-bound high schoolers who want guaranteed admission add a lot of public institutions to their college list. That’s because they believe that these schools accept everyone who applies to them.

Well, the University of Michigan is proof that this is far from reality.

As a matter of fact, UMich’s low acceptance rate makes it the most selective institution for higher education in the Great Lake State. It is followed by the College for Creative Studies (44%), Concordia University – Ann Arbor (49%), Adrian College (56%), DeVry University – Michigan (56%), and Lake Superior State University (57%).

Related Article: Is the University of Michigan Hard to Get Into?

U of M is also one of the most selective public colleges and universities in the US. Just check out the following table to have an idea of just how low its acceptance rate as a public school is:

United States Naval AcademyAnnapolis, Maryland8%
United States Air Force AcademyUSAFA, Colorado11%
University of California – Los AngelesLos Angeles, California12%
United States Military AcademyWest Point, New York12%
University of California – BerkeleyBerkeley, California16%
United States Coast Guard AcademyNew London, Connecticut21%
Georgia Institute of Technology – Main CampusAtlanta, Georgia21%
University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan23%
University of North Carolina – Chapel HillChapel Hill, North Carolina23%
University of Virginia – Main CampusCharlottesville, Virginia24%
University of California – IrvineIrvine, California27%
University of South Florida – St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Florida27%
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis ObispoSan Luis Obispo, California28%
Coppin State UniversityBaltimore, Maryland28%
University of North Carolina School of the ArtsWinston-Salem, North Carolina29%
University of California – Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara, California30%
University of California – San DiegoLa Jolla, California31%
University of West FloridaPensacola, Florida31%
University of Texas – AustinAustin, Texas32%
Savannah State UniversitySavannah, Georgia33%

On the fence as to whether your application could get you into the University of Michigan? Let this article on how hard is it to get into the highly ranked school give you a much better idea.

Early Admissions at University of Michigan

There is no Early Decision at the University of Michigan. However, there is Early Action available for applicants whose top-choice school is UMich. Early Action application deadline is on November 1. Because the plan is non-binding, accepted Early Action applicants may choose to enroll elsewhere.

Whether Early Action or Regular Decision, the application steps and admissions process remain the same.

It’s just that graduating high school students who apply to UM Early Action will receive a decision earlier than everybody else. Early Action decision can be any of the following:

  • Admit
  • Deferred
  • Deny

Made up your mind that you want a degree from the University of Michigan? Then consider applying Early Action. This is most especially true if you are confident with the strength of your application. Besides, early application is a form of demonstrated interest, which is a non-academic factor UM’s admissions officers consider.

But if you feel that your senior high school grades or later standardized test score could make your application better, it’s a much better idea to apply Regular Decision for increased admission chances.

Here are some important dates to remember for students who have UMich on their college lists:

Early Action1-NovLate January
Regular Decision1-FebEarly April

By the way, just in case you applied Early Action and UM accepted you, you could still choose to enroll at another college or university. That’s because, unlike Early Decision, Early Action is a non-binding admission plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the University of Michigan?

The estimated total cost of attending the University of Michigan for one year, using the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate, amounts to $32,272.38 for Michigan residents and $69,326.38 for non-Michigan residents. The tuition and fees for in-state students more than triple for out-of-state students.

Being a public institution, tuition and fees at UMich differ for students who reside in Michigan and those who reside outside the state. It’s completely normal for non-residents to pay two or three times more tuition and fees.

And true enough, the tuition and fees at UM are more than three times costlier for out-of-state students.

So far U of M has been an ok experience for me. I feel overwhelmed by such a large school, but I know there are resources that I haven’t taken advantage of yet. I’m looking forward to next year knowing I will be more settled and at home in Ann Arbor.

It’s a good thing that the school offers numerous ways and resources to help eligible admits and their families pay for college, and it all starts by filling out the FAFSA form. More than 50% of first-year students at the public institution receive some kind of financial assistance.

Related Article: 425 Colleges Charging In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of attendance at the University of Michigan for first-year students for one year, based on the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate:

Tuition and fees$16,178.38$53,232.38
Room and board$12,592$12,592
Books and supplies$1,048$1,048
University of Michigan

How Much Do the University of Michigan Graduates Make?

The initial annual earnings of the University of Michigan graduates (six years after initial enrollment) average at $56,200. The amount of money they make a year increases to an average of $74,400 ten years after attending UM for the first time, which is more than 100% higher than the national median.

It is said that, in the eyes of most employers, the degree earned is more important than where it’s earned from.

Still, there is no denying that an applicant’s resume that bears the name of a flagship school looks more impressive than that of someone else from a less-known academic institution.

Needless to say, you can rest assured that any degree you could get from attending the University of Michigan will be respected by employers, thus taking you one step closer to your dream job. It could also be your key to earning more per year than the national median, as mentioned above.

Wondering how much your initial annual earnings could possibly be based on your major?

The following is a table comparing the estimated salaries per year of employed UMich alumni members six years after enrolling at the public school for the first time as undergraduate students:

Computer and Information Sciences$86,900
Computer Engineering$77,300
Business Administration$76,900
Electrical Engineering$75,300
Communications Engineering$75,300
Mechanical Engineering$74,200
Chemical Engineering$72,500
Civil Engineering$67,600
Registered Nursing$64,000
Nursing Administration$64,000
Communication and Media Studies$41,500
Political Science$40,600
English Language and Literature$29,000

Just Before You Apply to the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is one of the most selective institutions not only in Michigan but across the country, too. It’s also one of the best when it comes to a lot of things — academics, value, athletics, social life.

If you want to earn a degree from UMich, check that your application can make you worthy of being one of the 23% of first-year applicants who gain admission into it. Use all the information you came across in this article when deciding whether or not applying to a public school is a great idea.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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